Woman (21) caught with Chanel handbags, high-end car and almost €100k in accounts guilty of money laundering
12th December 2022
A young woman who was caught with luxury items, a high-end car and almost €100,000 in various accounts has received a suspended prison sentence for money laundering.
Kathleen McDonagh (21) had €23,715 worth of luxury items including two Chanel handbags, Louis Vuitton bags, belts and shoes, Christian Louboutin shoes and two diamond rings when gardaí secured a warrant to first search her home in January 2020.
A high-end vehicle, which had been bought in a Galway dealership with €25,750 in cash in July 2019, was also seized at the time. The court heard the money and items were most likely funded by burglaries and thefts though these were not committed by McDonagh.
Garda Gary Farrell told Aideen Collard BL, prosecuting, that McDonagh’s home was searched as part of a wider garda investigation and later accepted that she was not the target of that investigation.
McDonagh had been in a relationship with a man who was serving time in prison for burglary at the time and was “very much under his influence”, the court heard. This man is now in Scotland and is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant.
During the searches of McDonagh’s home on dates in January 2020 and May 2020, gardaí also found details relating to an AIB bank account, a post office account and a credit union account in her name.
Further investigation of these accounts revealed that deposits totalling €98,828.88 had been lodged in them between March 2018 and December 2019.
McDonagh of Whitechurch Avenue Rathfarnham, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal to three counts of money laundering on dates between March 2019 and January 2020. Two further charges of money laundering were taken into account. She has no previous convictions.
Garnet Orange SC, defending, submitted to the court that his client did not have a role in the primary offence, but due to her “apparent good character” she was able to establish the accounts required to store and dispose of the criminal proceeds of those primary offences.
Counsel asked the court to accept that McDonagh was effectively “a channel”.
Judge Melanie Greally said she was not sure about McDonagh’s culpability in that sense adding that “she was a direct beneficiary” as the designer goods and car were being used by her.
She said McDonagh came from a stable family who did not condone her behaviour but continued to support her. The judge noted that the relationship with the man has concluded.
She said the cash and the goods were most likely the proceeds of burglaries and thefts. Gda Farrell told the court that McDonagh’s former partner was someone who was involved in criminal activity.
Gda Farrell told Ms Collard that there was no evidence to support how the money had been earned and McDonagh’s only source of income at the time was loan parent’s allowance. McDonagh was aged from 17 to 19 during the period covered by the charges, the court heard.
Judge Greally said she was taking into consideration McDonagh’s young age at the time and her absence of previous convictions. She suspended in full a three year prison sentence on a number of conditions including that McDonagh keep the peace and be of good behaviour for that period.